Thursday, November 30, 2006

Holiday No More

I was looking forward for a long holiday amidst promises of a declaration by the President. Then it was declared. And then in was revised. My heart sank when I heard the bad news. It’s not that I don’t like work, but it’s because of another plan gone awry with GMA’s changeable mind.

I won’t care about the activities or their agenda. My interest in politics dwindled after the last elections. But all I hope is the absence of any terroristic activity on those days.

I thank God my 3-day leave of absence was approved. I’ll be out from this busy city enjoying the sun and the white beach somewhere north.

If the City Mayor had his way, he would have wanted for a four-day holiday. But the business sector cried and ultimately got their wish from the President. Now, they are busy planning where to pass during the summit because most major roads will be closed. Patid-patid lata lang siguro ani padung office. Some employees suggested a chopper to fetch them to their workplace. Not a bad idea!

Monday, November 27, 2006

No Friends

Last night I was sitting at the porch of aunt’s house, playing “Cafu football” in my cellphone when my wife’s two young nephews came over to borrow my cell.

The younger one beat his older cousin in getting hold of the phone. The 6 yr-old cried foul. He complained that he was the one who asked me first. He withdrew murmuring that I was unfair. I asked him to come over. Not just once, but thrice I asked him to repeat his complaint. My reason was to delay his anger. I told him that I did not know he asked me first. I promised to let him play once his 4 yr-old cousin finished his game. He nodded.

Then it was his time to play. His smile was from ear to ear. The younger boy was fighting for a place in the seat they shared so that he can watch too. Everything went fine in the first two minutes until the older one got irked by the other one’s insistence to get hold of the phone. Little punches flew, and the smaller one cried. His father heard it and immediately scolded the older boy, and whipped his hand.

With none to protect him, he just threw a dagger look at his uncle with both lips tightly closed. He was about to withdraw again when I caught him and let him sit in the chair in front of me. I saw anger in his eyes that if given a chance, could be murderous. I once saw him push a child down at the church’s stairs. I also saw him pushing his mother out of balance at a party when he was not given attention. I am not sure of what he will do again this time.

After his uncle and his little cousin went back inside the house, he started talking to himself. “He’s not my friend. I don’t have any friends. When I grow up, I’ll ride a plane and bomb this house. I’ll destroy everybody.”

I just listened to him as he repeated his words. Then I silently prayed for the kid. I have not seen an angry child like him nor heard any other 6 yr old imagining of destroying his family. Never in my childhood had I remembered imagining bombing my own family’s house. “So, what about Amah (Fookien term for Lola)?” I finally asked him.

My question struck him at first, but then he reasoned. “I’ll let Amah fly in the plane with me and I’ll bomb this house.”

There was another moment of silence. His anger had not yet subsided. So I told him I’m going to pray to Jesus and will pray aloud for him. I touched his shoulder and asked Jesus to bless him.

Afterwards, I asked him. “Is Jesus your friend?” This time, his anger subsided. The fiery look in his beautiful brown eyes turned into innocence again.

“You know what? I only have 6 friends.” Then he mentioned names which included me, Amah, and Jesus. He happily repeated his words a few more times. The thought that he now considered six people as his friends relieved me. I know from now on I will always pray for this kid. But I wonder if he still wished to bomb their house.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

And She Chose to be Happy

I left her for work the other morning still asking the question why. I kissed her and said, “There will always be a next time.”

She met her doctor friend that morning coming from a nearby province. She too failed that same exam. They were roommates in Saipan. Misery loves company. And company relieves the misery. They visited the agency together and arranged for the next available schedule.

I met them again in the evening. They were giggling, like two teenaged girls, narrating how they were shocked at the results, and then dismissing the failure as just another experience. Doc is a forty something mother of three. It was her first time to fail in any exam in her lifetime, she said. But she’s not sad anymore. My wife, despite the teary evidence in her eyes, let out a smile. She said she chose to be happy.

Doc requested my wife to accompany her overnight in the 4-star hotel she was staying. I immediately agreed. At least they can plan together at how to tackle the next hurdle.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Test

I wanted to cry with her but I saved my tears. She couldn’t hold hers. “Why me?” she asked.

Why her? A prayerful woman she is and yet this simple request to pass the exam was not granted. I showed her the emailed test result last night and it was very close. She did pass in one area, and the others just near passing. But it was not enough. I wanted to console her, saying that maybe, we can go to Hongkong together while she retake the exam. She just curled herself in the bed and continued sobbing.

The days nearing her exam was very tough though. There was not enough time to review as she was busy with church activities, and taking care of her ailing aunt. And on the night before the exam, she had an asthma attack. She was coughing and sneezing on the exam day. But she felt light afterwards, confident that God will let her pass.

But now, seeing the result shattered her confidence. She woke up this morning still with red eyes. And she showed me the text message of a Kuya which she received very early, saying he prayed for her. We haven’t even told him of the news. Perhaps, God whispered to him to pray for her and send her comforting words.

I am at loss of words to soothe her right now. But I told her that God has other plans. We’ve been at this situation before, and we can overcome this one again. I was just amused at the remark of the person from their agency: “Ing-ana gyud ng mga buotan, mahagbong sa ila first take. Gi testingan gyud na sa Ginoo” (This is what usually happens to good people. They fail on their first take. God is just testing them.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Birthday Poem

I always have mixed feelings as I approach this day every year. I'm not getting younger anymore and time flies so fast. There will be no celebration tonight. But I'll choose to be happy.

A Birthday Poem

I do not know if I’m halfway there.
But the future is a long wait,
Whose path of valleys and hills,
I shall tread with faith.

Yesterday, I thought was a forgotten past,
But the memories lingers long
With each passing time,
Of Stolen hiatus and daily motions.

When I was a child,
Dreams, like rain, were aplenty
People loved me more than now
And possibilities were as endless as the horizon.

Then in my early youth I began
To realize my own unhappiness within,
And of the things I wished I had,
And still, today, never had

Innocence got lost in the vast ocean
Of knowledge and imagination
But I knew I lacked depth of insight
When all I thought the world revolved around me.

I, haplessly mislaid in my own introspection,
Struggled to raise my own belief in myself,
And transformed the way I perceive those around me
With eyes that can see through the heart.

Yes, we all change. Some rapidly,
While others undergo killing pain
Just to perfect the transformation
Like an ugly worm to a pretty butterfly.

I thank God whose hands kept molding me
Into one of much better worth.
Despite the brevity of all happiness and unhappiness,
I find eternal joy in Him.

Thirty years are behind me now
I do not know if I’m halfway there.
And I'm thankful to those people whom
I came to know, loved and cherished.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

25 Personal Questions...

Lest I forget, I promised Gypsy this one, before the week ends.

25 Personal Questions To Muddle Your Heart and Mind With

1. What would the title of your autobiography be?
The King Without a Kingdom

2 Which actor would best play you in the film of your life?

Brad Pitt. Not that I look like him. It’ll just be for a crowd drawer.

3 If you were a country, which one would you be?
I want to go to different places, and perhaps live somewhere else. But I want to return to this country in my twilight years.

4 If your philosophy in life could be summarized on a car sticker, what would it say?
Success is a different thing to every man.

5 If you could choose your own nickname, what would it be?
I’d choose my real name. It’s quite unique.

6 If people used your name as a verb, what would it be for?
I don’t know. Probably, to renew things.

7 If you had your 15 minutes of fame, what would it be for?
Reading aloud my own poem in a U2 concert.

8 If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?


9 What three qualities in a woman would be essential for her to quality as the love of your life?
Not just three but the totality.

10 Which TV character do you most identify with?
None. Not even close.

11 How would you describe yourself in a lonely hearts ad?
A romantic who is hopeful of reaching the stars.

12 If you could be an animal, what creature would be?
Dog. A best friend.

13 In what era do you belong?
1700. I like the conservative way of thinking.

14 When someone asks you, What do you do? What would you like to be able to say?
I am a dreamer lost in the accounting world.

15 Which fashion designer epitomizes your sense of style?
I don’t have any fashion sense. He he.

16 What car would you be?

A ferrari. Fast and awesome.

17 What season is most like you?
Winter (though I haven’t experience one). It must be very cool.

18 Where are you in life’s swimming pool? In the deep or shallow end, floating, sinking, on the diving board or in the changing room?
Bubbling every now and then at 6 ft deep.

19 What song sums you up best?
“He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker

20 What flower would you be?
Wild Waling-waling

21 What are your 3 best qualities?

22 What 3 words would your detractors use about you? What 3 words would your friends use about you? Who do you agree with?
Detractors might say: Disorganized, Always late, Insensitive
Friends might say: Smart, friendly, cool
I agree with myself.

23 Which of the 7 deadly sins are you most likely to commit?
Many times, gluttony.

24 What famous person, past or present, would most enjoy your company?
St. John, in the Island of Patmos

25 When & where were you the happiest you've ever been in your life?

So far, during our beach wedding, some two years ago.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Yesterday I drove my wife to the airport at 3:30am. It’s her first time to ride a plane. I assured her that everything will be fine. I really wanted to accompany her to Saipan, but the expense is not within our budget for the moment. She’ll be taking the NCLEX exam tomorrow.

After bidding her goodbye, I returned to our house and continued my sleep. I woke up at 9:30 am. I hurried off to work and again continued the seemingly endless budgeting works.

Today, I woke up late again. My mind seems to wander and even the budgeting worksheets are getting inside my dreams. I wanted to finish them as soon as possible, but there are other factors that contributed to the delays. Then there’s the recurring office problem, similar to our country’s economic problem. But I am just thankful that we resolved today’s trouble. We’ll be facing the same crisis tomorrow.

I’ll probably smash off the week’s stress tonight. I’m raring to hit the shuttlecocks again. I had a blast last week, beating a formidable duo in two sets. Well, it’s just one of those better nights. I miss the competition.

Tomorrow will be my wife’s exam day. I hope and pray that she can pass the test. They say it’s not easy. I can’t even give her a call of encouragement. I really miss her. I just want to hug and kiss her when she comes back on Saturday night.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Adventures in Kiamba

Tales of my Father - Part 4

My parents were surprised that I was included in the school's honor roll despite being absent many many times. A rich childless couple who lived in the town wanted to adopt me, but my mother was adamant. She said she'd rather die than sell her own child.

My mother's well-to-do brother and his wife noticed my wit and potential. They asked my parents if they could take me with them to Kiamba, South Cotabato (now Saranggani). They said they will shoulder all my educational expenses, and send me to the best school in town, together with their only daughter.

My smile was from ear to ear. I really wanted to pursue my dream of getting a college education and a better life. My parents nodded and parted with me. My eight other siblings didn't care about my departure. No tears were shed on our parting that day. I was sure I won’t miss my parents either.

In Kiamba, I helped my uncle and my aunt in their store. I dearly call them Papa Juan and Mama Bening. They're like real parents to me. They enrolled me in a private school and I was getting popular each day. I got myself a girlfriend by just giving her sweetened banana. I became very close to my cousin also but her other cousins got envious of me. They made up stories. I don't easily get discouraged but it was too much then for my feeble mind. In my frustration I went a parish church and inquired about getting inside a seminary.

The Priest asked if I had any parents. I said I had none. I knew beforehand that they will only accept orphans. He asked if I was willing to serve God all my life. I piously nodded. But a neighbor overheard my conversation with the priest and informed my aunt. They hurriedly went to the parish priest and explained everything.

I was busted. I was scolded and spanked for claiming I had no parents. I told them that I don’t have my parents here and that I badly wanted to enter seminary so that I could become a priest someday. I had no intention of disowning my parents. Well... the priesthood would have been a good escape from poverty.

Had I became a priest, I would not have seen my beautiful wife and wonderful children. God has other plans for me though. I still got that Priesthood without entering the seminary.

Parts 1-3

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Miles to go....

I must admit that my high school literature teacher who gave me flat 3.0 in all grading periods prompted me to take another look at English literature, though at a later period when grades were no longer necessary.

First, it was the quotable quotes. Then, it was poetry. My early love for verses was limited only to the Psalms, as written in the King James 1611 version. I have memorized a few chapters by heart. But then, she opened my eyes to Shakespeare and other English poets. My favorite of them all is Robert L. Frost (1874-1963), whose works we studied in high school.

I’m gonna share with you two of my favorites. How I wish I can compose verses like him, but I have miles (if not lightyears) to go before I can do that. Oh! By the way he's a four-time Pulitzer Prize Awardee.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.